Rated – R
Directed by Mike Judge
Starring: Jason Bateman, Mila Kunis, Kristen Wiig, Ben Affleck
In this world of blogging, critics on television and information sources all over the Internet, it seems almost impossible to not have an understanding of a movie before viewing it. Well that that my position going into seeing Extract. I knew it was a comedy, but I didn’t know how plot-heavy this 91-minute feature would overpack. I suspected a nice ensemble cast to pull their weight. What I saw was a number of characters that stemmed from Joel (Bateman) who were one-dimensional and weren’t very likable. But the one thing that worked for the film was that it was quite funny.
Joel is the owner of a bottling plant. His employees are the typical array of diverse and strange characters. He’s married to Suzie (Wiig) in a sexually frustrated relationship. Joel talks his problems out with best friend Dean (Affleck), which will come back to haunt Joel after he’s drugged and then decides to hire a young and dumb gigolo, named Brad, to have sex with Suzie just so he can try to have an affair with Cindy (Kunis).
But wait, Cindy is an important character in the film (or atleast it would seem from the beginning). Cindy is a sexy, crafty con-artist who turns her back on ethics and morals for a wad of cash. She always knows what to say to get her way. Yeah, she’s that good. So when there’s an accident at the bottling plant that results in aspiring floor manager, Step (Clifton Collins Jr.) to lose a testicle, Cindy jumps his boat and convinces him that: 1. she’s interested in him and 2. to sue the company for millions.
Everything begins to crash and burn right in front of Joel’s eyes. His plan to sell the plant takes a huge hit when Step decides to sue the company. He finds out that his wife continued to have sex with Brad, who thinks he’s in love with her. And he has an extremely annoying neighbor who simply never shuts up. No one would want to be caught dead in Joel’s shoes.
Jason Bateman plays Joel very well. He has a knack for diffusing an array of whacky characters with his subtle and collected reactions. He did a superb job at this throughout Arrested Development, and here he plays a similar role. I’m disappointed how underused Kristen Wiig and Mila Kunis were in the film. Both could’ve really put their strengths forward, but instead were strangled by Judge’s script and direction.
Although far from perfect, Extract is an effective satire that will give you a good amount of chuckles. This time around, Judge’s workplace satire isn’t anything special like his 1999 smash hit, Office Space. There is too much going on with not enough time for everything to play out. And the number of one-dimensional characters really plague the experience.